Berlin police charge woman for returning donated toys

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BERLIN, Vt. (WCAX "It’s Vermont, I would think that people would be a little bit more trusting," said Central Vermont Toys for Tots coordinator Daniel Duffey.

When he and a volunteer were shopping at the Berlin Walmart, they noticed a toy that had been sent directly from the Toys for Tots organization, sitting on the Walmart shelf.

"I got in touch with the store, and I was like, 'Hey, is there any way we can pull the cameras on this and see what was going on?'" said Duffey.

That was in early December. Late Thursday, Berlin Police identified the woman as Tanya Drown, 30. Police say Drown made an alleged fraudulent return of gifts she received from Toys for Tots and got a gift card in exchange.

"If you're stealing from a child then you steal from a charity, that’s pretty low," Duffey said.

We spoke with Drown on the phone; she didn't want to talk on camera. She said she was mortified with how blown out of proportion the situation got. She did send us a statement on Facebook, it read:

"I called and reported myself and I am completely embarrassed by this I didn't do it for free money I did it to get my kids the one big thing that I knew they both wanted. I did return some stuff that was given to us but not all that I returned was from them. It's a great cause and they do wonderful things unfortunately they gave the kids stuff they already had or that was not age appropriate (Legos for my 4 yr old that were marked 7-12 years old) so I returned some stuff to get them the one big item that they both wanted and a few small things that they had wanted. I didn't know we weren't allowed to nothing was said until after I did it and I felt bad as soon as I heard. But I knew my kids weren't getting a big Christmas this year since I hadn’t had a pay check in over a month so I figured it would be okay to bring that stuff to exchange for less things but stuff that they really wanted that I couldn't afford to get them due to job changes. What else was I supposed to do bring it back and say I’m sorry my kids have this stuff already and then be ungrateful? No, so instead I tried what I thought was the right thing and to exchange it but I was wrong. I’m sorry for all the stress and craziness this has caused after speaking with Toys for Tots and knowing what I knowing now if I could go back and do it differently I would have."

"When you go through the website, you do have to check that you're going to abide by the guidelines which one of the guidelines is that things won't be sold, auctioned or otherwise used for monetary value," said Duffey.

That wasn't the only situation Drown was involved with. Mandy New noticed the woman in the picture was the same one who sold her different toys on Facebook.

"I ended up deciding to buy them to basically do a good deed, help someone," said New.

New sent us the Facebook messages. She said she bought the toys for more than double what they were in stores. It is unclear if the toys came from Toys for Tots.

"I'm not even really that upset because my intentions were good and I intended to try and help a family that was in need. And the way I look at it is she's going to have to suffer the consequences of her actions," New said.